DEAN HUGHES AND KELLY CHORPENING
HANOVER PROJECT 1st – 23rd October 2015
Dean Hughes is interested in space. His work is initiated from recurrent moments of not knowing what to do. These moments of not knowing to Dean are absolutely everything and create space to notice moments, such as punching paper with a hole punch and reinserting the paper back into the hole perpendicular to the paper sheet. Such a grasped idea fuels work, often produced in series, to squeeze and exhaust the often purposeless notion, which can disregard the aesthetic and always returns him to the state of not knowing.
The work presented consists of immaculately made small wooden clothes horses upon which are draped pieces of calico, which have been dyed in the kitchen sink, in an unusual shift from his work to date which has not felt the need for colour. The use of colour is not considered, the dyes are proprietary unaltered colours and whilst he understands that colour can give an emotional response does not consider himself a colourist. Interestingly for Dean using colour triggers feelings of subversion and guilt, like being a bit naughty and also creates a distance from him and the work, creating another space which required reflection. The work was perceived to be looking back at him and required the addition of stitching to the calico, to add visual weight, to balance all of the elements, both calico and wood. This does seem to be resolved work.
Kelly Chorpening originally from and trained in the U.S. with a solid grounding in art history produces work which requires work. She creates drawings with dots and lines in a repetitive, disciplined, arduous process building a textural surface. The repetition evokes resonances between drawing and writing and also reading, time is required for these activities. Her work creates the possibility of something legible without being spelled out.
Her personal investment in her work on large scale paper and its inherent frailty has changed her working practice. The tearing of the paper that can occur over time has also exposed her own vulnerability and led to work that is easily portable and durable.
Steel plates are industrially moulded to the required shape and paper fixed to the surface. The drawings are created on these three dimensional planes which allows a flat image to be presented as a sculptural form, however whilst this gives solidity and emotional permanence, the paper surface exposes its frail surface to open view.
Kelly also presents four small drawing on paper which could appear to be variations of doorways or entrances, a portcullis, a front door or a numbered address. However in the finest tradition of The Academy these drawings are copies of masterpieces such as Giotto’s St Francis Receiving the Stigmata. They are drawings of the reverse, of the solid often repaired infrastructure, the wooden ramparts and skeletal structures supporting the ancient images.
Whilst not being formally connected by any joint working practice, the work does seem connected in many ways. The exhibition came about after a discussion between the artists and David Mackintosh, the custodian of the Hanover Project space, who suggested the title of the exhibition after receiving images from both artists that visually resembled tongues. The work was produced independently and curated at installation within the Hanover space. There are themes of solidity and vulnerability, of formalism and subversion and there are marks both drawn and stitched that seem to want to give us literal meaning. This show is both visually alluring, in parts beautiful, and also offers the viewer an invitation to read the work. This is frail vulnerable work wearing its armour on the inside.
Cliff Richards October 2015
Both Kelly Chorpening and Dean Hughes have practices that are underpinned by processes of drawing. Their research involves contemporary visual art; exhibiting in galleries, critical writing on visual art and teaching visual art. They share a key interest in the role of drawing in a contemporary art context, however their interrogations offer very different perspectives and their outputs are radically different. ‘Different Tongues’ brings together Hughes and Chorpenings’ work in a two person exhibition for the first time.
Kelly Chorpening was born in Baytown, Texas in 1970 and sholds a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA from Hunter College, Citu University of New York. She exhibits internationally and many of her projects are co-developed as books. She is currently co-editing with Rebecca Fortnum a Blackwell’s Drawing Companion (30 commissioned essays) to be published in 2018. Her public presentations on contemporary drawing and it’s teaching include: ‘Just what is it that makes today’s art schools so different, so appealing?’ (ICA, London), ‘What makes a good drawing?’ (The National Gallery, London), ‘Drawing out’ (RMIT, Melbourne), ‘A history uncovered; A future imagined’ (Paris College of Art, France) and ‘DRAW2014’ (Carnegie Mellon University, USA). She has been the Course Leader for B.A. (Hons) Drawing at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL since 2006.
Dean Hughes (b.1974 Manchester, UK) studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London between 1993-96. He was included in the British Art Show 5 in 2000 and his work was featured in Phaidon’s 2005 book Vitamin D New Perspectives in Drawing. Recent group exhibitions include Big Minis at CAPC Bordeaux; Lonely at the Top, MUHKA Antwerp, and Newspeak: British Art now, Saatchi Gallery. Recent Solo exhibitions include Maria Stenfors (2014) and Cairn, Pittenweem (2014), and in June 2014 he curated Ideas in things at Maria Stenfors. Dean Hughes is represented by Maria Stenfors and he is currently Head of the School of Art at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh.
‘Different Tongues’ marks the beginning of an ongoing project ‘Invisible Inc’ between, David Mackintosh, Kelly Chorpening and Dean Hughes, the three artist have formed an interuniversity research collaboration that will investigate drawing’s role in contemporary visual art and develop a web based resource for the research and dissemination of drawing.